SPRINGFIELD — Effingham County Fire & Rescue won’t be overcome by Effingham County’s smoking growth patterns.
Fire Chief Clint Hodges is in the early stages of forming a budget with the expectation that his department will also grow in the coming year. It currently features 31 full-time employees and about 70 volunteers spread among 12 stations.
“Early indications are that will be adding full-time firefighters,” Hodges said, “and we are always looking for volunteers. Our volunteer numbers look good but we could always use more.”
Effingham County has a goal of putting a station within five miles of every house within its boundaries.
“It’s an aggressive goal but we’re almost there,” Hodges said. “We’ve got one station that we are going to build in the next fiscal year, which is the Ardmore Fire Station. That’s bring 96 to 97 percent of everyone in the county having a station within five miles.”
Hodges is grateful that his department is fully backed by the Effingham County Board of Commissioners and its administration.
“We honestly appreciate that because we honestly can’t be successful without a good support system in place,” he said.
Hodges said the department plans to replace three fire engines this year.
“That’ll keep our fleet in very good condition,” he said.
Last year, the department added an engine that features a 100-foot ladder. It is housed at Station No. 4, a central location at 181 Recycle Way near Guyton.
“That’s a big item,” Hodges said. “That’s the first ladder truck we’ve had. It gives us the ability to reach taller buildings that we couldn’t reach in the past.
“It makes operations a lot more efficient.”
See the May 23 edition of the Effingham Herald for more details.